Philip Roth on Life as a Retired Writer, Kaveh Akbar’s Poetic Gratitude, and More


Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories:

“Fifty years in a room silent as the bottom of a pool, eking out, when all went well, my minimum daily allowance of usable prose.” Celebrated novelist Philip Roth, approaching age eighty-five, discusses his fifty-plus-year writing career, his life after retiring from writing, and the current political climate. (New York Times)

The Handmaid’s Tale author Margaret Atwood is facing a backlash after writing a controversial pieced published in the Globe & Mail on Saturday, in which she described the #MeToo movement as a “symptom of a broken legal system.”

“The fact that poems exist is the low-bearing gratitude upon which I have built my life, and what do you do with gratitude when it piles up? You have to push it outwards.” At NPR, poet Kaveh Akbar discusses creating the contemporary poetry interview site DiveDapper. Read an interview with Akbar about his debut collection, Calling a Wolf A Wolf, in our 2018 Debut Poets feature.

At Publishers Weekly, Mexican fiction writer Cristina Rivera Garza highlights twelve books by Spanish-language women writers “who have ceaselessly questioned the status quo, refusing to comply with gender and other hierarchies.”

Poet Ocean Vuong has won the £25,000 T. S. Eliot Prize for his debut collection, Night Sky With Exit Wounds (Copper Canyon Press, 2016). The book has also won the Forward Prize for debut poetry, a Whiting Award, and the Thom Gunn Award. (Guardian)

In more prize news, horror master Stephen King has been awarded the 2018 PEN America Literary Service Award, given to an author whose body of work “helps us understand and interpret the human condition.” King, who has published more than fifty books, will be presented with the prize on May 22, the same date as the release of his new novel, The Outsider.

Buzz Books is currently offering two free e-books containing more than fifty excerpts of buzzed-about titles coming out this spring and summer, including new titles from award-winning authors Otessa Moshfegh, Peter Swanson, and Aimee Molloy. (Publishers Lunch)